Curse Of The Viper King: Russell James
Reviewed by Steve Stred
This was my first time reading Russell James, and to be up front and honest, I was confused right off the hop. Why? Turns out this is actually book three in a trilogy. As I started to read it, I felt like maybe my Kindle was messing up and had actually caused me to start half way through. Now, I imagine that fans of Mr. James would have known this going in. Me, not a clue! So to set the record straight – you do not need to have read any of the two previous novels to read this one. This is the rare gem that stands on its own while simultaneously furthering a series. I will add, though, that I think it would be beneficial to have read the first two. The Curse of the Viper King references Book 1 (Cavern of the Damned) and Book 2 (Monsters in the Clouds) a few times, giving you a brief rundown of what adventures the Main Character paleontologist Grant Coleman has gotten himself in to prior.
The Curse of the Viper King was a really fun, adventure book. I wouldn’t put this anywhere near the horror spectrum (unless of course you consider a movie like Anaconda horror). But never the less, this was such a story driven tale, that I found myself engrossed in what was happening and moving with the characters seamlessly. The downfall, I think, for not reading book two, was that I didn’t get to see Grant and the Female Main Character here, activist Janaina strike up their original rapport. Because of this, some of the interaction between the two, at times, bordered on annoying. I chalked this up to not starting the journey with them in book two, and would suspect that if someone had already read book two they would be chuckling at a lot of their banter. Throughout the book Mr. James ensures that what the characters do to try and survive is realistic and they use what is available to them. One major kudo’s for this book, and the author, is that the “final battle” if you will, is a fully formed series of events. This is not a book where you realize that the conclusion will happen in less than five pages. No, the conclusion occurs over four chapters and because of that, the book feels completely fleshed out.
Overall, this is a fantastic creature feature that brought me back to my youth. The days when snakes could grow to thirty feet, spiders can be as big as SUV’s, and the jungle is hiding untold riches, just waiting for someone to stumble upon it.
After reading this book, which I loved, I wouldn’t see myself personally going back and reading book 1 and 2, simply because I know Grant lives at the end of each. The end of this book loosely alludes to a possible fourth book, and if Russell James does decide to write that book, sign me up. I look forward to looking into his other releases as well.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4*
Paleontologist Grant Coleman and environmentalist Janaina Silva, lost in the Amazon rain forest, discover an isolated logging camp, and the chance to hitch a ride back to civilization.
But the workers uncover a fossil of a giant snake, almost fifteen meters long. Grant is thrilled, but the superstitious workers believe they have let loose a demon.
That night, the world begins to unravel. A mysterious creature attacks the camp, kills several men, and sinks the only boat that can get them home. Soon Grant and the others are in a battle against colossal spiders and a descendant of that great fossilized snake.
The key to survival might lie in the lost pyramid of the Aztec Viper King, hidden deep in the rain forest. But they need to get there alive, and one member of the crew has an agenda that doesn’t include Grant and Janaina ever getting home.
Will anyone survive the curse of the Viper King?
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here